Social Skills for Youth Athletes

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Apr 28

My wife brought up an interesting idea tonight at dinner. “Why don’t they have classes or a summer camp on social skills for youth athletes? They would learn how to shake hands, make interviews, stuff like that.”

What social skills should kids be taught for youth sports?

It’s a good idea. Certainly from the behavior of some of the  professional and college athletes there should be.

I’ve read a ton of sports psychology books, blogs and articles. I took a semester course from one of the pioneers of sports psychology, Dr. Tom Tutko. (He was so fun, I took every course he taught at San Jose State.)

But I’ve never seen mention of teaching these skills to kids. Maybe programs that work on getting kids scholarships to colleges teach this; I don’t know.

It reminds me of that class scene in Bull Durham where Kevin Costner is on the bus teaching Tim Robbins what to say to the press. It’s funny because it’s so true.

As a coach, do you teach personal skills to your team?

I tried teaching personal skills along with sports psychology to many of my teams with some success…and some failures. Sometimes the kids had serious mental health issues that prevented them from being able to control themselves.

I felt it was important to allow them on the team but sometimes I questioned my wisdom. This was on a community college team where I felt the education and participation was more important than the winning.

Between teaching the X’s and O’s, conditioning and dealing with the parents, board and everything else, it can be a daunting task. You have to incorporate it as part of your psychological sports program.

What and how do you teach your team about social skills? Do you teach sports psychology do you team? If so, what and how do you get it in?

Coach Ron Usher

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